Face it: sometimes your ‘guru of medical balance’ feels as if she has feet of clay.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been exhausted by my tightly booked spring travel schedule. My medical office manager has departed for greener pastures, and the resulting office upheavals have consumed all my local evenings and free time to unravel. And what’s more, a deadline looms for a chapter of an anthology about finding the humor in healthcare… and I just don’t feel very funny right now.
No doubt about it. My life, just like yours, sometimes feels as if it is spiraling out of control. “But what happened?” you (and I) whine, “I thought I had achieved balance!” The error is that we often think of balance as if it were a destination, a steady state, a safe nesting place. Au contraire. Balance is a dynamic state, requiring continuous energy and attention. To visualize balance, think of a barrel resting on its side with a board placed lengthwise upon it. Stand on that board, continuously aware, adjusting, shifting, trying your best to stay upright and even roll the barrel in a forward direction while not tumbling to the ground. Balance takes effort. But how can we jump back up on our balance beam when all energy is consumed just in keeping our heads above water?
First we need to re-discover our sense of proportion, easy to lose in fatigue. Pull back and assess your challenges. In the big scheme of things, often your looming threats are in fact only puny and transient inconveniences. Neither I nor my loved ones are suffering from a life-threatening illness. Financially I will not need to change my career to selling pencils on street corners or dwell in a refrigerator box. Get a grip.
After the sense of proportion, man your battle stations and strip your self-care to the essentials. This is no time to insist on bells and whistles, or a twenty-step good health plan. Avoid food served through a car window. Instead, visit the grocery store salad bar and stock up on healthy frozen meals. Get outdoors daily, albeit briefly, and enjoy the changes of the seasons. ‘Hit the hay’ at a reasonable hour, insisting on eight hours of sleep. Make the time for thirty minutes of sweaty exercise as well as brain settling Tai Chi or meditation daily.
Your choices in flame-out? Distress or De-Stress. Choose to place your focus on self care, and invest your energy in yourself. You will regain your balance. This too shall pass.
Humorous medical motivational speaker Patricia Raymond MD resuscitates the joy in medicine and guides physicians and nurses to learn to play nicely in our shared medical sandbox. Author of Don’t Jettison Medicine: Resuscitate Your Passion for the Career You Loved, Dr. Raymond is the right remedy to make your hospital healthy. Book Dr. Raymond for your next hospital event or medical convention; get information at www.RxForSanity.com. ‘Like’ Dr. Raymond on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rxforsanity, and follow her funny health tweets @PatriciaRaymond